Docudharma Times Thursday October 30

Barack Obama Talks To America And Offers Hope And Change

John McCain Talks To America And Offers Fear

Thursday’s Headlines:

Vote watchdogs warn of troubles on election day

Ex-political prisoner wins Maldives poll

Johann Hari: How we fuel Africa’s bloodiest war

Afghans plan museums to replace moonscapes

Earthquake kills scores and intensifies Pakistan’s woes

Westfield shopping centre opening: Tens of thousands of people expected

French assertiveness on credit crisis jars Europe

While Baghdad improves, a family’s hopes still arrested by war

Turkey tightens controls on Internet speech

Colombia fires 20 army officers over civilian deaths

The Decided Go in Droves to Vote Early


Published: October 29, 2008

HENDERSON, Nev. – At grocery stores across Las Vegas, voters are casting their ballots, and then shopping for bananas or hitting the slot machines a few feet away.

About 100 people have voted from the windows of their cars, A.T.M. style, in Orange County, Calif. Several busloads of voters pulled up to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections in Cleveland on Sunday, did what they came to do, and then repaired to a church across the street for some fried chicken.

In all its forms, early voting has been an election year hit. Enormous lines in Florida led Gov. Charlie Crist to issue an executive order extending early voting hours statewide from eight hours a day to 12, while in Georgia an elderly woman in Cobb County stood in the sun so long to vote that she collapsed.

Chinese want a piece of movie ‘Action!’

 Thousands of would-be extras arrive at the gates of Beijing Film Studio each year, hoping to become stars or just to generate a little excitement in a tough life.

By Mark Magnier

10:41 PM PDT, October 29, 2008

Reporting from Beijing — When you have a movie calling for 700 eunuchs, it’s good to live in a country with a potential pool of more than 1 billion extras. And this is the place to find them: at the gates of a nondescript compound on the north Third Ring Road called the Beijing Film Studio.

It’s just after 6 on a recent morning, but a sizable crowd is already swarming the entrance to the studio, which has become a mecca for wannabe actors across China yearning for their big break. Most aren’t particularly ready for their close-up — migrant workers with dusty clothes and dirt-etched fingernails — but they’re hungering for a bit of celluloid to counteract a tough, often dull, existence.

By some estimates, 100,000 people land in front of these gates each year looking for infinitesimal roles as policemen, soldiers, pedestrians. The odds don’t favor wallflowers, which prompts many to toot their own horns, sometimes literally.



Banks to Continue Paying Dividends

Bailout Money Is for Lending, Critics Say

By Binyamin Appelbaum

Washington Post Staff Writer

Thursday, October 30, 2008; Page A01

U.S. banks getting more than $163 billion from the Treasury Department for new lending are on pace to pay more than half of that sum to their shareholders, with government permission, over the next three years.The government said it was giving banks more money so they could make more loans. Dollars paid to shareholders don’t serve that purpose, but Treasury officials say that suspending quarterly dividend payments would have deterred banks from participating in the voluntary program.

Vote watchdogs warn of troubles on election day

?Lawsuits have already been filed over efforts to purge rolls and challenging voter identification laws. ‘This one is the meltdown scenario,’ one activist says.

By Carol J. Williams and Noam N. Levey

October 30, 2008

Reporting from Washington and Los Angeles — Counting down to an election day expected to draw a record-shattering turnout, voting-rights watchdogs are sounding the alarm that a repeat of the Florida fiasco of 2000 could occur in any of a dozen battleground states.

Lawsuits are already flying in many of these states.

Voting rights advocates in Colorado, to take just one example, told a federal judge Wednesday that the names of nearly 30,000 voters were recently purged from the state registry in violation of federal law and ought to be restored by election day. In a compromise, those voters will be allowed to cast provisional ballots.

Across the battleground states, where Democrats had a 2-1 advantage in new registrations, voting-rights groups contend the eleventh-hour verifications demanded by Republican officials are attempts to disenfranchise the new voters.


Ex-political prisoner wins Maldives poll

Randeep Ramesh, south Asia correspondent

The Guardian, Thursday October 30 2008

A human rights activist yesterday swept to power in the first democratic presidential polls in the Maldives, ousting from office the man who once imprisoned him.

Mohamed “Anni” Nasheed, a former Amnesty International prisoner of conscience who founded the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) in 2003, secured 54% of the vote – beating Maumoon Abdul Gayoom in the run-off election.

“Our country has courageously embarked on a momentous path in its history,” Nasheed said after his victory. “The people and the economy will benefit from good governance. We are very confident with the team of people we have and we are certain that we can take this country to where it deserves.”

Johann Hari: How we fuel Africa’s bloodiest war

What is rarely mentioned is the great global heist of Congo’s resources

Thursday, 30 October 2008

The deadliest war since Adolf Hitler marched across Europe is starting again – and you are almost certainly carrying a blood-soaked chunk of the slaughter in your pocket. When we glance at the holocaust in Congo, with 5.4 million dead, the clichés of Africa reporting tumble out: this is a “tribal conflict” in “the Heart of Darkness”. It isn’t. The United Nations investigation found it was a war led by “armies of business” to seize the metals that make our 21st-century society zing and bling. The war in Congo is a war about you.

Every day I think about the people I met in the war zones of eastern Congo when I reported from there. The wards were filled with women who had been gang-raped by the militias and shot in the vagina.


Afghans plan museums to replace moonscapes

 • Kabul steps up campaign to restore cultural heritage

• Thousands of treasures repatriated from abroad

Helena Smith in Athens

The Guardian, Thursday October 30 2008

It has been described as one of the great acts of cultural desecration of modern times, a rampant pillage that threatens to denude a country of much of its fabulous heritage. But now Afghanistan is stepping up an ambitious campaign to stop the looting of the country’s archaeological sites, with a programme to build museums, train archaeologists and repatriate the billions of dollars worth of stolen antiquities that have been spirited through its porous borders during the past seven years.

“We’re in the process of building 10 provincial museums, training more archaeologists, repatriating stolen treasures and making a red-list of [looted] art works,” the deputy culture minister, Omar Sultan, said during an official visit to Greece.

Earthquake kills scores and intensifies Pakistan’s woes

By Omar Waraich in Islamabad and Andrew Buncombe

Thursday, 30 October 2008

A major rescue operation to save those thought to be buried under fallen buildings is underway in Pakistan after a series of earthquakes struck the south-west and killed at least 170 people. Hundreds more have been injured, an estimated 15,000 are homeless and the death toll could rise further.

A quake measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale struck close to the city of Quetta, in Baluchistan, early yesterday morning, wrecking mud-built homes and triggering landslides. Later in the afternoon, another quake measuring 6.2 struck the same region, leaving residents terrified of more jolts


Westfield shopping centre opening: Tens of thousands of people expected

Tens of thousands of shoppers are expected to flock to west London for the opening of the Westfield centre.

?By Matthew Moore

Last Updated: 8:45AM GMT 30 Oct 2008

The 43-acre mall in Shepherd’s Bush – Europe’s largest urban shopping centre – opens for business at 9am on Thursday.

Many of the 265 shops at the £1.7 billion development are expected to offer deep discounts on the first day of trading, and Westfield’s operators say they have put measures in place to deal with huge crowds.

Westfield boasts stores from international brands like Prada, Chanel and Valentino, major US firms including Apple, Nike, and Gap, as well as “anchor” stores from the likes of Marks & Spencer, Waitrose and Next.

Westfield also contains a 14-screen cinema, 50 restaurants, a gym, a spa and a library under its undulating, energy-efficient roof.

French assertiveness on credit crisis jars Europe>

A spirit of cooperation is tested ahead of a crucial series of meetings to prepare for a Nov. 15 US summit.

By Robert Marquand | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

from the October 30, 2008 edition

PARIS – As European leaders gather next week in a crescendo of meetings ahead of a Nov. 15 global financial summit – a “Bretton Woods II” in Washington – they face an old problem: unity.

That summit, described variously as “visionary” and “bold” under the leadership of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, is designed to build on the spirit of cooperation in the rescue of world banks in the credit crisis.

Yet just as quickly as Mr. Sarkozy got credit for bringing Europe together in a moment of crisis, he’s roused the ire of a crucial ally, Germany, and several other European nations.

As president of the European Union, and with little consultation, Sarkozy pushed economic reforms opposed by Berlin, and even hinted that France should step into key posts that govern the eurozone, and possibly even prolong its six-month EU presidency, due to end on Jan. 1.

The reaction was harsh – and prompted squabbles ahead of the Washington global summit.

Middle East

While Baghdad improves, a family’s hopes still arrested by war

The Methboubs, a family the Monitor has followed since 2002, have been devastated by the imprisonment of one son who says he’s being held on false charges.

By Scott Peterson | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

BAGHDAD – This was supposed to be the year that their hopes soared beyond the war’s violence and uncertainty.

Karima Selman Methboub and her family moved into a larger apartment in a safer neighborhood back in January and the oldest daughter, Fatima, was married in a noisy festival.

But optimism has turned to despair for this widow and her eight children whose saga the Monitor has followed since late 2002, before the fall of Saddam Hussein.

One son was recently jailed after being swept up in a joint US-Iraqi raid on a coffee shop, and Mrs. Methboub is coping with an illness that led to one costly operation and requires another.

Turkey tightens controls on Internet speech

The country’s courts and governments have banned 850 websites this year, including YouTube and Blogger

 By Yigal Schleifer | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

from the October 30, 2008 edition

ISTANBUL, TURKEY – For pioneering Turkish blogger Erkan Saka, these are dark days. Last week, he found himself cut off from a group of blogs that he belongs to and from hundreds of other websites he regularly reads.

A Turkish court had just banned Blogger, the popular blog-hosting site owned by Google, because of illegal material found on a few sites on its servers. It was just the latest among hundreds of sites banned by Turkey’s courts and government this year, raising concerns about censorship in a country with an already troubling record on freedom of speech.

“I feel very helpless and frustrated. I am not allowed to use something very natural now. A basic means of communication is being prevented,” says Mr. Saka, who teaches popular-culture studies at Istanbul’s Bilgi University and operates the website

Although his site, hosted elsewhere, was not affected and the Blogger ban was provisionally lifted Tuesday, some 850 websites remain off limits. YouTube has been blocked since May, after clips mocking Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, modern Turkey’s founder, were posted there. And recently a court agreed to bans on the websites of Oxford evolutionist Richard Dawkins and one of Turkey’s largest newspapers after an Islamic creationist group complained about them.

Latin America

Colombia fires 20 army officers over civilian deaths

The dismissals involve the disappearance of youths whose bodies were later identified as rebels killed in combat.

By Chris Kraul

October 30, 2008

Reporting from Bogota, Colombia — The Colombian Defense Ministry fired 20 army officers Wednesday, including three generals, in connection with the deaths of a dozen youths who allegedly were killed and falsely identified as guerrillas slain in combat.

The firings revolve around the disappearance over the last year of youths from Bogota’s Soacha suburb, a sprawling working-class neighborhood rife with crime and unemployment.

Their bodies were later found more than 200 miles northeast of Bogota, the capital, in the state of North Santander and tagged as guerrillas killed in combat. The youths were apparently promised work by shadowy recruiters and then disappeared without a trace, after saying little to their families other than they were taking well-paying jobs.


    • RiaD on October 30, 2008 at 15:14

    YaY! for Election Watchdogs!

    YaY! for Mohamed “Anni” Nasheed!

    YaY! for Afghan Museums!

    Boo! Hiss! for 43acres & several billion dollars worth of shopping mall….

    .       think how much food that space would grow! how far that money would go to alleviate poverty!

    Boo! Hiss! to bully Gordon Browne

    YaY to the docudharma news crew for keeping me informed!!!

    thank you mishima!!

    YOU are the BEST!

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